On March 2, 2019, all eyes of the fashion world will turn to Montreal to admire the first retrospective devoted to the visionary creator Thierry Mugler.

                                                                                 By Stéphane Le Duc

A true coup d’état, under the aegis of Nathalie Bondil, the director of the Museum of Fine Arts, the curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot will have the privilege of hosting the world premiere of an exhibition entirely dedicated to the genius of this daring couturier. The designer’s outfits are part of the collective imagination, and his creativity continues to be expressed through his work as a director, photographer, and perfumer. The exhibition Thierry Mugler: Couturissime promises to be spectacular because the man remains an exceptional couturier whose futuristic creations with sculptural forms haunt memories. Nathalie Bondil stresses the importance of the exhibition, which was started in 2016 and conceived with the true artistry that is Mugler. “Not only do we have access to incredible works that are unique in their workmanship and have been photographed by the greatest and most prominent models and international celebrities. It is the access to works and, also, to the imagination and the vision of the artist who creates this world. There is very little access to haute couture. It’s easier to see a Monet or Van Gogh.”

To present the 140 outfits that are shown for the first time in a museum, Thierry-Maxime Loriot, famous since curating the Jean-Paul Gaultier exhibition in 2011, has imagined a theatre journey from Lady Macbeth to metamorphoses through the celebrities of music and cinema. “With the Star and Strass section, we find all the showgirls: Beyoncé, Diana Ross, and the celebrities who parade for Mr. Mugler, but also all the stage costume collaborations, be it Mylène Farmer, David Bowie (who was the first to wear Mugler’s women’s creations in 1979), not to mention Céline Dion and Diane Dufresne. We will have more than 45 music videos that will be featured in this section, including the cult film Too Funky by Georges Michael. There is also a Couture Androids section; these robot creatures occupy a unique place in the work of Manfred Thierry Mugler, for whom the creation of an armor has become evident in his vision of women. “I like women who are powerful and free,” he said, “a kind of divine animal, a strong woman, but with a big heart full of love and emotion that must be protected. After the idea of the cut-out tailor, the Jump-Suit, I thought, ‘Why not do real armor?’. I wanted to create a living robot, so the model came on stage with a sewing coat, a sewing hat, and gradually stripped to reveal a robot. It’s an idea that I developed in Beyoncé’s music video.”

For this major exhibition, the curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot has done remarkable research and photographic work that gives access to more than a hundred photographs, many of them unpublished, such as Dominique Isserman, Guy Bourdin, Jean-Paul Goude, Herb Ritts, and Manfred Thierry Mugler’s unique Helmut Newton: “Our first collaboration dates back to 1978,” he noted. “I dreamt for a long time that one day I would have a budget to do a photo campaign with Helmut Newton because I admired his work. We made the first campaign; I prepared the venue, the styling, the shots, the polaroids, and Helmut was horrified because he told me that even the director of Vogue would never have the nerve to tell him where and how to take the photos. After a while, he gave me the camera and told me, ‘You know how to do it. You can finish.’ I told him, ‘Helmut, you just lost a customer. Next time, I’m the one doing the campaign.’ That’s how I started, and we were great friends. He was a very great photographer; he had a very personal look, a unique eye! I did lots of other campaigns after.”

By revisiting these great creations from 1973 to 2001, one will feel like they know the nostalgic creator, but it is more admiration that is at his heart: “I found the team spirit and the emotion of the efforts, the work, the devotion of the people with whom I worked kept me motivated night and day to make these pieces. The reality of the beauty of the work could not be conveyed in the very staged shows that I did or even in the photos. I am happy to be part of this team at the museum, which is entirely dedicated to beauty and perfection. It’s a real adventure, and now we are going to open the treasure chest, and we invite you to the opening of Couturissime or Fashion on Stage!